Edit: I'm adding in this little disclaimer because I think people have been getting an overall negative impression in this review, and I don't want that to be the case. Yes, it is my least favorite of the 3 JDG books I've read -- but really, that's not saying much, as Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow is one of my favorite books, period (just about everything is going to be "liked less") and 2nds in a series are always a little less for me, somehow. Sophomore Slump, I guess.So, while I do detail some of the reasons I liked it less, I want you to know, I still liked it. No, it didn't blow me away, but I don't regret buying or reading it. :)This one got off to a little bit of a rocky start to me, and I wasn't entirely sure I was going to like it. I didn't connect right away, even though I really like Poppy. I think that, for me at least, it was because it had more of a middle grade feel than a YA one, and I wasn't prepared for that; it required a mental shift on my part. But once the story got going, I was completely drawn in and willing to set any hesitation aside. And I'm glad I did, because this is one of the most unique, inventive retellings of Cinderella I've ever read. There were things I didn't see coming from the outset (which is unusual in a fairy tale, to be honest), and things that, even once I saw them coming were still really enjoyable and fun. It was a quirky and cute take with an unexpected edge of darkness, and I liked that.As much as I love Poppy and the expansion of her character in this book (she's one of the sisters from Princess of the Midnight Ball), I was a little less enthusiastic about some of the other main characters. I had no problems with the supporting cast, but I wished for more from the Prince, especially where romantic development is concerned. I liked him fine, and I got the whole conflict and all, but in order for the resolution to completely work for me - foregone conclusion or not - I need to believe that there's a basis for love on both sides. With him under a spell for good chunks of the book (and that's not a spoiler people - it's hinted at strongly at the very beginning), it's hard to completely buy the romance, which is a big part of the story. I think I bought it more because I wanted to than because it was all there.But more of a drawback was Ellen. I just couldn't like her. I get that she was being manipulated, and I get that she was under magical influences, some bad juju, if you will, but it didn't make it any easier for me to like her. She was so petulant and bratty and just really hit on some pet peeves of mine. I did like her more as the story went on, but still - when one of the main characters is hard to like, it puts a strain on the book. Fortunately, Poppy more than made up for Ellen. And as silly as I found the backstory of the villain, I quite liked her, too. The things she does... omg, it gives a whole new meaning to glass slippers, and it is some CRA-ZEE, let me tell you!In the end, though it is my least favorite of the Jessica Day George books I've read, that doesn't mean I didn't like it. I would still recommend it to fans, fairy tale lovers and spunky young girls, who will love Poppy (and swoon over the Prince, guaranteed). I'm looking forward to the final installment of the series, following one of the sisters of the "younger set"... any bets on who?